Pineapples

Countries Where Pineapples are Reportedly Produced with Forced Labor and/or Child Labor

Pineapple Commodity Risk Map

Pineapples are reportedly produced with forced labor (FL) and/or child labor (CL) in the following countries:
Brazil (CL)
Côte d’Ivoire (FL)

 

Top ten countries that produce pineapples, fresh or dried, worldwide (FAOSTAT 2017):

  1. Costa Rica
  2. Philippines
  3. Brazil
  4. China
  5. Thailand
  6. India
  7. Indonesia
  8. Nigeria
  9. China
  10. Colombia

Top ten countries that export pineapples, fresh or dried, worldwide (UN Comtrade 2018):[1]

  1. Costa Rica
  2. Netherlands
  3. Philippines
  4. Belgium
  5. United States
  6. Taipei
  7. Ecuador
  8. Spain
  9. Honduras
  10. Mexico

 Top ten countries that import , fresh or dried, worldwide (UN Comtrade 2018):[2]

  1. United States
  2. Netherlands
  3. China
  4. Germany
  5. Spain
  6. Belgium
  7. Italy
  8. United Kingdom
  9. Japan
  10. France

 

[1, 2] International Trade Center (ITC Calculations based on UNCOMTRADE Statistics). http://www.intracen.org/.

Where is pineapple reportedly produced with trafficking and/or child labor?

The U.S. Department of State 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report notes forced child labor in the pineapple sector in Côte d’Ivoire.[1] According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2018 List of Goods Produced by Forced Labor and Child Labor, pineapples are produced in Brazil using child labor.[2]

The U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report ranks Brazil and CDI as Tier 2 countries.[3]

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[1] U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report. 2019. https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/271339.pdf

[2] U.S. Department of Labor. 2018 List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.

https://www.dol.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ilab/reports/child-labor/findings/TVPRA_Report2018.pdf

[3] U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report. 2019. https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/271339.pdf

What does trafficking and/or child labor look like in the production of pineapples?

According to the U.S. Department of State, boys from neighboring countries of Ghana, Tunisia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Togo are trafficked to work on pineapple plantations in Côte d’Ivoire.[1]

Although specific cases of trafficking have not been cited in the Philippines, high rates of labor casualization – that is, workers working without a formal connection to the plantation owner – have led to job insecurity, vulnerability, and the exploitation of workers.[2] In the Philippines where pineapple production is dominated by large multi-national companies, contract workers are hired via “labor cooperatives.” These labor cooperatives allow plantations to avoid direct working relationships with workers, who essentially become “permanent temporary” workers with no mechanisms for grievance.[3]

The U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report states that migrant men, women, and children, primarily from Nicaragua, are subject to forced labor in the agriculture industry in Costa Rica Depending on the region, between 60 and 90 percent of pineapple workers are migrants from Nicaragua, and many lack documentation.[5] Many workers are undocumented migrants, a status which can increase their vulnerability to human trafficking. These workers generally do not speak the language of the farm owners and, due to their undocumented status, do not have access to legal avenues for lodging complaints about dangerous working conditions, excessive hours, or low pay. Workers in pineapple production are exposed to hazards including toxic chemicals, heavy machinery, and extreme temperatures.[6] As in the Philippines, workers on pineapple plantations in Costa Rica can also be wrongly classified as “temporary” and hired via “cooperatives” as a means to avoid direct employment relationships, access to benefits and avenues for expressing grievances.[7]

American owned pineapple farms in Hawaii hire migrant workers from Thailand who are vulnerable to discrimination and, reportedly, indicators of human trafficking for forced labor including withholding “passports, denying them pay, charging them hefty recruitment fees, and harassing and retaliating against those who complained.”[8]

According to The International Labour Organization, pineapple production workers in Thailand also experience abuses, although trafficking and forced labor has not been documented specifically. The ILO reports that some workers involved in pineapple canning experience abuses such as excessive overtime, particularly in peak seasonal periods, while the labor conditions on smaller family-owned pineapple farms are obscured by opaque supply chains and lack of transparency.[9]

Children are engaged in a variety of agricultural tasks in Brazil,[10] reportedly including pineapple, although most children engaged appear to work on family farms[11] and the scale of child labor in pineapple production specifically is not documented. Children working in the pineapple industry may apply dangerous chemicals, carry heavy loads, work long hours, and use hazardous tools.[12]

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[1] U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report. 2019. https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/271339.pdf

[2] International Labour Organization. Global supply chains in the food industry. September 2019. https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—asia/—ro-bangkok/documents/publication/wcms_464077.pdf

[3] International Labor Rights Forum. “The Sour Taste of Pineapple”. October, 2008. http://laborrights.org/creating-a-sweatfree-world/resources/10745?lang=english

[4] U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report. 2019. https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/271339.pdf

[5] Orenstein, Georgia. “Costa Rica’s Pineapple Industry”. December, 2018. https://borgenproject.org/costa-ricas-pineapple-industry/

[6] Fresh Fruit Portal. “Oxfam report takes aim at Ecuadorian, Costa Rican tropical fruit industries”. June 2, 2016. http://www.freshfruitportal.com/news/2016/06/02/oxfam-report-takes-aim-at-ecuadorian-costa-rican-tropical-fruit-industries/

[7] International Labor Rights Forum. “The Sour Taste of Pineapple”. October, 2008. http://laborrights.org/creating-a-sweatfree-world/resources/10745?lang=english

[8] Pasick, Adam. “Human trafficking—or something that looks a lot like it—has been taking place in Hawaii.” November 19, 2013. https://qz.com/148766/human-trafficking-or-something-that-looks-a-lot-like-it-has-been-taking-place-in-hawaii/

[9] International Labour Organization. Global supply chains in the food industry. March 2016. https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—asia/—ro-bangkok/documents/publication/wcms_464077.pdf

[10] Agencia Brazil. Labor among children aged 5-9 increased in Brazil. June 6, 2017.  http://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/en/direitos-humanos/noticia/2017-06/labor-among-children-aged-5-9-increased-brazil

[11] Agencia Brazil. Labor among children aged 5-9 increased in Brazil. June 6, 2017.  http://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/en/direitos-humanos/noticia/2017-06/labor-among-children-aged-5-9-increased-brazil

[12] U.S. Department of Labor. 2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor. 2019. https://www.dol.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ilab/reports/child-labor/findings/2015TDA_1.pdf

Pineapple Production and Supply Chain

The pineapple production process generally includes fertilizing and pesticide spraying in addition to the usual labor-intensive agricultural activities, such as land preparation, planting, and harvesting. A large workforce is required to cultivate the fruit. After an extensive period of planting, protecting, and watering pineapples, they are harvested and packaged to be shipped to processing plants or to be sold as fresh fruit. Pineapple producing brands often own plantations in several countries, and shipments from these countries may be shipped together, making it difficult to identify geographic origins of the fruit once it is on grocery store shelves.[1]

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[1] International Labor Rights Forum. “The Sour Taste of Pineapple”. October, 2008. http://laborrights.org/creating-a-sweatfree-world/resources/10745?lang=english

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). “Pineapple.” AAACP Products. April 26, 2012. http://www.unctad.info/en/Infocomm/AACP-Products/COMMODITY-PROFILE—Pineapple/ United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). “Pineapple.” AAACP Products. 2016. http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/INFOCOMM_cp09_Pineapple_en.pdf

How do Trafficking and/or Child Labor in Pineapple Production Affect Me?

A worker collects coffee cherries in a basket

As a commodity, the pineapple is predominantly traded as a fresh fruit, but the Food and Agriculture Organization also includes pineapple juice concentrate in the pineapple commodities trade statistics.[1] Pineapples make up about 20 percent of the total world tropical fruit production, and they are the second most harvested fruit, after bananas. The United States has the highest demand for imported pineapple. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the primary use globally for pineapple is as a fresh fruit for desserts or as an ingredient in other dishes.[2]

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[1] United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). “Pineapple.” AAACP Products. 2016. http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/INFOCOMM_cp09_Pineapple_en.pdf

[2] United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). “Pineapple.” AAACP Products. 2016. http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/INFOCOMM_cp09_Pineapple_en.pdf

EXAMPLES

What Governments, Corporations, and Others are Doing

In early 2017, the U.S. Labor Education in the Americas Project (USLEAP) announced a collaborative project with Honduran and Costa Rican labor unions to promote the safety and wellbeing of pineapple and melon workers.[1] USLEAP is launching a campaign to demand that workers in Costa Rica and Honduras receive living wages and access to freedom of .[2]

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[1] Rosazza, Gabriela. “Global Campaign Launches in Support of Melon and Pineapple Workers in Central America.” International Labor Rights Forum. February 9, 2017. http://www.laborrights.org/blog/201702/global-campaign-launches-support-melon-and-pineapple-workers-central-america

[2] Rosazza, Gabriela. “Global Campaign Launches in Support of Melon and Pineapple Workers in Central America.” International Labor Rights Forum. February 9, 2017. http://www.laborrights.org/blog/201702/global-campaign-launches-support-melon-and-pineapple-workers-central-america

LEARN MORE

  • Read this Labor Rights Forum report on the growth of the pineapple industry.
  • Take a look at the Finnwatch report on suppliers for European groceries.
  • Watch a short documentary on pineapple production in the Philippines.